DALLAS -- Fleming here said last week it has found buyers for 26 of the remaining 35 Abco Desert Markets in Arizona, enabling it to get closer to exiting the conventional retail business.
lesaler based in Plymouth, Minn.
Fleming said a year ago it planned to dispose of its corporate-owned conventional stores to concentrate on the value retail segment of its business through acquisitions, conversions and new construction.
The company said last week it is selling seven of the Abco stores to Southwest Supermarkets, Phoenix, including five locations in Phoenix and two in Tucson. Fleming said it expects that deal to close within 45 days.
Prior to the acquisition, Southwest operated 33 stores, including 32 in Arizona and one in California.
Nineteen of the Abco units are being sold to independent operators -- with 14 stores becoming part of Fleming's IGA marketing group and five others going to unaffiliated retailers -- in a deal expected to close within 30 days, the company said.
Fleming said it will continue to supply all 26 former Abco stores under their new ownerships.
Fleming originally operated 56 Abco units in Arizona. The company sold 11 to Safeway and closed 10 before last week's deals with Southwest and independent operators. The company said it is still seeking buyers for the remaining nine locations.
In separate developments last week:
Fleming said it has agreed to acquire seven Food 4 Less stores in California from Whitco Foods, Fresno, increasing its Food 4 Less store base to 38.
Of the seven California stores, three are in Fresno, two in Visalia and one each in Hanford and Bakersfield -- all in central California. They will continue to be supplied by Fleming's Fresno division.
Fleming said Whitco will retain ownership of two other units, which operate under the name Nickel's Payless Stores in central California.
Fleming also said it has acquired Minter-Weisman, a wholesaler that serves convenience stores in Minnesota, Wisconsin and surrounding states. Fleming said it will retain the Minter-Weisman name and the company will continue to be managed by Jeff Rutman and Paul Siegel, company vice presidents.